Doing It The Dorm Way: How to Settle Into Dorm Life

(This article was done as a guest spot by Kelly Kilpatrick from BestCollegesOnline.com.)

Photo by macwright.

Photo by macwright.

Some freshmen anticipate the experience while others dread the very thought of having to share a tiny room with a total stranger. No matter which of the two categories you belong to, by the end of your first year in college, you’re definitely going to be changing your mind and pre-conceived notions about dorm life more than once. Living in a dormitory full of other people who are there for the same reason you are- to get an education– but who seem to be completely different from you, has both ups and downs.

On the minus side, you’re forced to put up with noise and intrusion (albeit, the friendly kind) from people you hardly know. But on the plus, you learn to get along with other people and adjust to various kinds of social settings; you also make good friends, with some of them staying around for life. College dorms can be fun places if you know what to expect and keep an open mind. Here are a few tips for freshmen who are all set to take their first voyage into the land of dormitories and roommates.

  • Meet your roommate in advance (if you have to share) and get to know each other. You’re going to be spending a lot of time together, so make sure you’re compatible and can relate to each other. It’s a good idea to set ground rules so that you both respect each others’ privacy and stay in each others’ good books.
  • Dorm rooms are often small affairs, and if you’re sharing, things could get a bit cramped what with all the paraphernalia, gadgets and appliances that both of you bring. Talk to your roommate and set up a list of things that you both can share, with one of you being responsible for the appliance or gadget. Space-saving measures go a long way in making your room more like a home.
  • Living in a dorm room requires a lot of tolerance from you, so be prepared to accept that there may be times when you’re trying to study and your dorm is too noisy to suit your needs. Make sure that you’re able to adjust accordingly and move to a quieter place like the library instead of venting your ire on those who live with you and earning the sobriquet of a spoilsport. If you must tell them to keep it down, do so politely.
  • Make sure you pack all the things you require for life in a dorm room. You don’t come off too well when you’re forever borrowing stuff from your roommate. Things like a table lamp, comfortable mattress and sheets that fit on the bed you’re given, a bed riser if you need additional storage space under your bed, a shower caddy and robe that come in handy on your trips to and from the bath rooms, hangers, a first aid kit, an alarm clock, comfortable footwear, cutlery and crockery, a message board and a laundry bag are some of the basic necessities that you’ll need to kick off your foray into dorm life.
  • Be careful with your stuff – dorm rooms are notorious for mysterious and unaccountable disappearances.
  • Be prepared to share once you’re living in a dorm room – be it bathrooms or belongings.
  • Keep an open mind when it comes to socializing with your dorm mates – you’ll meet people from various strata of society and from other countries as well. Put aside your prejudices and remain on friendly terms with everyone.
  • Assume responsibility for yourself; mom’s not around to wake you up, make sure you attend all your classes, eat healthy meals on time, exercise regularly, do your laundry, make your bed and keep your room neat. So get into the habit of being organized and tidy without someone having to nag you about it.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the on line colleges. She invites your feedback by her email.

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